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  • Writer's pictureGabrielle

Improve Your Saxophone Sound with 3 Easy Exercises

A shiny saxophone with mother-of-pearl keys is laying on sheet music
Love saxophone & want to play it better? Read on!

Originally posted by David Arnold on April 24, 2016

Below are three simple ways to improve your sound on the saxophone. In addition to getting you on the right track to incredible tone, they will also help you keep it for years to come. In fact, I still use these ideas when I practice and warm up for gigs.

1. Long Tones – Always start your practice session with long tones. This is a great way to focus and strengthen your embouchure. I always start with the low B flat and work my way up chromatically. It is important to start the notes with your air, not your tongue. This will really strengthen your breath control.

2. Octave Slurs – Slurring down from one octave to another is one of the things young saxophone players struggle with the most. The key to this exercise is to start on the low octave and slur up. Then without changing your embouchure, slur back down. If you are doing it correctly the note should just drop down. Start the exercise on F sharp and work chromatically down to D sharp.

3. Relax – Most students use too much jaw pressure and close off the air in their throats. The lips should form an “O” shape around the mouthpiece, with equal pressure from all directions. Keep the throat open and relaxed so that the air can freely pass through. You can check to see if you are doing this correctly by removing the mouthpiece and playing a note. If done correctly, on Alto, the pitch will be a concert A (F sharp on the Alto).

Start each and every practice session by working on these simple exercises and you will hear and feel noticeable differences in your playing in no time. Your tone will be fuller and your intonation will be more accurate.


For more information or to sign up for lessons you can contact Marion Music Academy at 319-377-3343, or click here to sign up for a free trial lesson.

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